Step 1: Be born into, or convert to, Orthodox Christianity. Check.
Step 2: Befriend any other kind of Christian, who celebrate Easter on a different calendar, and thus (most years) a different day.
Step 3: Bonus Easter!
I got Bonus Easter before Actual Easter (which will be, I have no doubt, an epic post of its own.)
My heathen boyfriend requested that I accompany him to Mass! (I’m not at all implying that Catholics are heathens. Just that my boyfriend is a heathen nominal Catholic).
So to Mass we went. But first pancakes, obvi.
I made this yogurt-packed, egg-free pancake recipe I'd made before, subbing plain Greek yogurt (that quite honestly was a bit sour and only appropriate for baking applications), and adding some banana slices. Though they caramelized a bit messily and detached from the pancakes (oops), they scraped off okay and added wonderful sweetness.
It had been TOO LONG since pancake Sunday!
Just for kicks (and apparently, at a point in the morning when the natural light became a TOTALLY DIFFERENT COLOR in my kitchen) we sprinkled salty peanuts on top.
Excellent, excellent idea. Monkey pancakes, I’d call ‘em.
So off to church we went and it was very nice and I seriously love going to other peoples’ houses of worship. Takes me back to my anthropology days! (I did an, if I do say so myself, excellent project on evangelical Christians at a sort-of-megachurch in Boston. And loved loved loved interviewing everyone!)
Then, surprise, Steve and I were hungry.
To amend: Very hungry. And when Steve is hungry, serious, serious food gets made.
We decided we should go to HMart.
Because HMart is where one can buy MEGA CONDIMENTS. (Kinda like my boyfriend’s mega biceps in the background :D)
Just to give context (and show the other condiments. Also the lighter fluid, which we did not eat.)
So what was this meal that involved mega-Sriracha?
It started when Steve said, “It’s a beautiful day. Let’s grill up some fish!”. Since he and I are both pretty committed to sustainable seafood, that meant a trek out to Whole Foods, where we picked up some pretty boss-lookin’ (local!) black sea bass, whole. I had eaten and adored grilled whole fish, prepared very simply, in Greece, and was confident I could do it.
Then Steve went, “Ooh! Ooh! When I was studying abroad in Costa Rica, we ate rice and beans and plantains all the time. Let’s make those!”
I found a recipe for grilled plantains which sounded healthful and delicious and also convenient since we were firin’ up the grill anyway!
You sliver them up like that, then glaze ‘em with a mixture of melted butter (I used oil cause I’m lazy and worried about burning cause I was on a charcoal, not gas, grill, with less good temperature control) as well as some brown sugar and cayenne, mm.
Steve said the bowl I selected to make the glaze mixture perfectly evoked the colors of cooking in Costa Rica. So there you go.
You started grilling them skin down, where they did most of their cooking.
Then flipped and finished for a few minutes on the other side where yes, they sort of charred. But tasted great!
Okay; fish, rice, beans, plantains!
“Oh, also, let’s make dumplings!”
Steve is such a dork. And can eat more than anyone I have ever met.
So millions of veggies were assembled. Green onion, carrot, mushroom, ginger, garlic, and in I think a stroke of brilliance, BEAN SPROUTS! They were GREAT in there.
And at Whole Foods we also got some US shrimp.
The mixture was bee-yoo-ti-ful. Lotsa colors!
So the plantains had finished up, and we had great lookin’ coals. I copied a trick I picked up from Cook’s Illustrated: put a disposable aluminum pan over the part of the grill where you want to cook the fish. This will concentrate the heat in that area and burn off any drippings from the last time you grilled that might remain on the grate, giving you a clean surface to which to adhere your fish and minimize stickage!
Fish did stick, a little, but I don’t eat the skin anyway, so it really worked out great. And PERFECTLY flaky fish!
This was two fish, totaling, after removing scales and guts, three and a half pounds or so. I grilled them for about ten minutes a side over somewhat indirect heat (but next to very hot coals).
Also made a salsa to go with the fish that was mango, cucumber, green onion, and Sriracha. Yum!
Oh, also, we learned that you can grill dumplings! Cause the grill was already hot.
Steve just wasn’t quite sure we’d have enough food, so he picked up baby eggplants at Hmart. I rolled my eyes at him and sure enough, they were my favorite part of the meal. When you just cut slits in their side and let ‘em cook on the grill, they lose any bitterness and become tender and amaaaaazing.
And then… we feasted!
The sort of Latin American side of the table:
Annnnd the Asian side:
Annnd my happy belly. And more.
And tomorrow… I get to do it again!